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Thursday, July 28, 2011

254

Ask a Clean Person: The Basics

Somehow my husband and I have managed to make it past 30 without establishing an adult-type cleaning routine. Meaning that we let things go for days (weeks sometimes!? I swear only rarely) at a time and then do a big intensive clean all at once. I know that ideally we'd do a little every day instead. Any suggestions on how competent adults might clean? Like what should we be doing every day? Obviously dealing with dishes (which we have finally gotten in the routine of) but what about beyond that? Help!

Because you’re not the first to ask this sort of question, I’ve spent no small amount of time thinking of different approaches, and here’s what I’ve settled on, to start: For each of the four main rooms in the house, I’ll offer two things to do every day and two things to do every week. (There are, of course, a million variations on these ideas. But we’ve only got so much time here. There are Qream-based baked goods to dream up!) When you see an exclamation point it indicates that I feel REALLY STRONGLY that if you do nothing else, it’s the one thing I’ll be so happy to know you’re doing. If you’re not doing it consider lying and telling me you are.

If this feels waaaay too ambitious for you, incorporate these changes room-by-room or try bumping the timeframes on some or all of the tasks out; every day becomes once a week, once a week becomes once or twice a month. I’ll look the other way.

Bedroom

Every day:

1. Make your bed!
2. Put clothes away or in the laundry hamper

Once a week:

1. Change bed linens
2. Tidy and dust/polish all surfaces

Den

Every day:

1. Remove any dirty dishes to the kitchen sink/dishwasher!
2. Straighten cushions, throw blankets

Once a week:

1. Tidy and dust/polish all surfaces
2. Vacuum/sweep floors

Kitchen

Every day:

1. Do the dishes!
2. Wipe work surfaces down

Once a week:

1. Check fridge for spoiled/old food, throw it away and take out the trash*
2. Wipe down counter- and tabletop, fridge exterior, stove and sink with all-purpose cleaner

*empty wastepaper baskets in bedroom, bathroom, den, etc. as well

Bathroom

Every day:

1. Hang wet towels!
2. Wipe up sink area

Once a week:

1. Hit the tub, toilet and sink with Scrubbing Bubbles
2. Sweep/mop up hairs

Miscellaneous thoughts on leading a cleaner existence

Identify items that cause clutter — like, literally look around your house and maybe even write down the things that are in piles/look messy/are exploding all over the place; likely culprits are mail, receipts, and loose change — and create a repository for them. A basket for mail, a storage box for receipts, and a bowl for change, perhaps! Or whatever works for you. I bet Etsy has a hundred darling and twee storage solutions that you might covet! Treat yourself to those things! Put them in the place where you would usually dump the clutter items, and then use them. Before you know it, you’re going to be so good at this that you’ll be accepted into Advanced Placement cleaning courses, and suddenly you’ll find yourself emptying out your shelter magazine-worthy storage solutions once a month/once a quarter as appropriate. Your entire world will change.

Ladies, do you constantly have jewelry floating around your bedroom? Get a bigger jewelry box and put it wherever you usually put your baubles on in the morning/take them off at night. Discount stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls are great sources for inexpensive jewelry organizers.

Are your clothes overflowing your drawers? Is this the reason you aren’t putting them away? Take an hour and tackle the worst offenders (t-shirts, socks, and underpants, usually). Throw away or recycle into your rag pile stained, holey, old, or smelly items. Donate things that are in good condition that you just don’t wear anymore. Be honest about what fits and flatters and what doesn’t. Ask a Jane for more advice on that front. If you can’t get rid of things your other options are to buy a bigger dresser or be an Unclean Person, so you know... your choice.

Make a catalogue and magazine rule: If they’ve been in the house for more than a month, either recycle them or put them in magazine holders. Think about unsubscribing to catalogues that you don’t care to receive to make things even easier on you and our overflowing landfills! A good time to toss things is when you’re doing your weekly tidying and dustying routine.

Refuse to keep newspapers in the home for more than a week.

Launder dish and hand towels once a week. This is a particular nit of mine. WHY ARE YOU DRYING YOUR CLEAN PAWS ON THAT FILTHY SCHMATTA???

Lastly, if I had to venture a guess I would say that “Put clothes away or in the hamper” will be the single most difficult thing to stick with. Can we agree to split the difference and at least put the dirty clothes in the hamper? Oh my God thank you so much you have no idea how upset a pair of dirty underwear on the floor makes me.

This coming semester I will be moving into a house with three other girls. Since money is always tight for four young ladies like ourselves, we were wondering if you could give us a short list of the best, most essential cleaning products we'll need to handle the inevitable messes we'll encounter in our time there. Please help us avoid spending extra money on a bunch of different products we don't necessarily need!

Before we do this thing, can we hear it for our collegiate clean people?!?! RAH RAH BLEACH BOOM BAH!! You girls... ach, I’m just so proud *wipes tears*

First tip: There are four of you, coming from four homes. It is my belief that virtually every home has at least one redundant cleaning product; identify the one belonging to the Clean Person in your homestead and STEAL THAT SHIT. Or, you know, ask nicely if you can have it. Don’t pass up products that are down to the dregs or not particularly useful, because at the very least the bottle an be rinsed out and used to hold a DIY cleaning solution.

Now then! Off to the store for the following items.

Bon Ami: This is going to be your new best friend, so buy the biggest tube you can find and leave it someplace handy. Bonus: The packaging is super cute! Basically you’ll use Bon Ami to clean everything: the tub, sink, and toilet in your bathroom; your kitchen counters and stovetop when things get serious; and pots and pans with burnt-on food.

OxyClean: You’re in college, which means you will get things on clothes and furnishings and shoes and handbags that will leave stains. And you’re a Hairpin reader, which means you’ll barf on things. Buy a huge tub of Oxy.

Laundry Detergent: You gotta wash your clothes. Probably not a bad idea to chip in for a giant box of communal detergent.

Palmolive: Of the popular brands of dish soap, I truly believe that Palmolive is a superior product. You’ll pay a little more, but it will do a better job, last longer and bring back fond memories of Madge, who as I was typing this I realized you’re too young to be familiar with. MOVING ALONG.

White Vinegar: Forgo commercially available all-purpose and glass cleaners, and mix up equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Now you have a spray cleaner that you can use to clean up spills, wipe down countertops, and clean glass. Buy a huge jug of the stuff and store whatever you don’t use — paired with our old friend baking soda, it makes for a super cheap drain unclogger. Which you’ll need. Trust me on this and if you ever meet me in person ask me about the origins of my fear of standing water. (Something something bathtub of horrors sophomore year in college.)

Sponges: Get yourself two packages of sponges, one with a scrungy back and one regular. The scrungy ones will be for your dishes, the other ones for cleaning.

That should about do it for you in terms of products! Oh right, it’s probably not a bad idea to invest in a broom and a toilet brush. Also think about using old t-shirts, socks, or towels as rags to cut down on paper towel spending. A slightly damp rag can be used to dust furniture — no need for Endust.

Oh my God I’m so excited about your home I can barely even stand it. When are you going to invite me over to teach you how to make punch??

Previously: The War on Bugs.

Jolie Kerr is not paid to endorse any of the products mentioned in this column, but she sure would be very happy to accept any free samples the manufacturers care to send her way! Are you looking for a green alternative to the suggestions found here? Because we’ve got some! More importantly: Is anything you own dirty?



254 Comments / Post A Comment

Nicole Cliffe

This is the Ask a Clean Person OF MY DREAMS.

krasen

Absolutely agree with you, Nicole! by Krasen Markov

parallel-lines

Aparently I am secretly a clean person deep down inside?

It also helps to buy yourself nice furniture, so when you look at it you feel like an asshole for not keeping the rest of the room clean. Socks on the floor is not rally jibbing with the look you were going for with the Eames chair.

parallel-lines

@parallel-lines jibbing? Uh, need a brain cleaner.

MollyculeTheory

@parallel-lines Just pretend that "Socks on the floor" is the name of your sailboat that you have failed to enter into a regatta, and it all starts to make sense.

DenimGlow

@parallel-lines I hear a vinegar and baking soda mixture cleans well.

parallel-lines

@MollyculeTheory Heh, that's actually it. I'm crewing on a boat and it is so duderiffic I sometimes find rotten apple cores and crusty socks. It needs to be set loose on a sea of vinager.

becky@twitter

@parallel-lines have you been eating comet again, ala my secret addiction? ;)

Xanthophyllippa

@becky@twitter I just couldn't handle being on campus alone with all that soap!

Afia

2 points for use of the word schmatta.

boyofdestiny

Change bed linens once a week? Is that the same as sheets? And also, how many sets of bed linens do you think I have?!

Kneetoe

@boyofdestiny: One (for the win).

wharrgarbl

@boyofdestiny Linens usually = sheets, pillowcases, light blankets. "Change" also translates to "wash" for those of us with only one regular set.

beatrixkiddo1

@boyofdestiny Do the girlofdestiny a favor - http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Egyptian-Cotton-530-Thread-Count-Solid-Sheet-Set/5096740/product.html

Pixley

@boyofdestiny Buy another set of sheets! Check the clearance section at Target, and yeah Overstock too. It will make changing your sheets into a thing you do way more often, because you don't have to think, "I should change my sheets, but I have to have them washed by the time I go to bed tonight." Throw them in the hamper and CHANGE YOUR SHEETS.

boyofdestiny

@everybody To my credit, I have more than one set of sheets! But I also have less than, say, ten sets of sheets. You'll also be glad to hear that "Buy another set of sheets" is right below "Tailor all those long pairs of pants that I don't wear because they're too long" on my list of probably necessary things to do that I've just been putting off.

amateur hour

@boyofdestiny Maybe Jolie needs to include "Do laundry every week" if you wanna be a clean person?

Layla

@whyhellothere Do you need to do laundry every week to be a clean person?!?! I can basically go two months without running out of clean underwear, and I have three sets of sheets and towels, so I feel pretty good about myself if I do laundry every two weeks. Am I doing it wrong? Please don't make me go to the laundromat every week.

emla

@boyofdestiny I think you need 3 sets of sheets (depending on how often you do laundry). One on your bed, one in your hamper, and one in the cabinet.

TheRisottoRacket

@Layla I can go two to three weeks before I exhaust my wardrobe, so I think it's best to say just do it when you need/are able to. Also, I'm a firm believer in going through your clothes and donating/throwing away every six months. I always feel so accomplished after I do!

DrFeelGood

@everyone OK so this may be TMI, but I started doing laundry on the regular when I realized that mice were getting into my laundry bin and chewing on the dirty bits...

amateur hour

@Layla Oh, I think 1-2 weeks is totes fine. Especially if you have to go to a laundromat!

Xanthophyllippa

@Layla: I have 89 pair of underwear for a reason.

amateur hour

@DrFeelGood whoa. I had mice living in my oven once and nesting in the insulation...uuugghghhhh.

Layla

@ratchet I go through my clothes a couple of times a year, but I like to think I'll be glad for all the underwears when the end times come.

mishaps

@emla This is exactly right. Plus, having only 3 sets of sheets forces you to do laundry regularly, so, bonus.

QuiteAmiable

I'm gonna spill my secret: I use diluted Pine-Sole (actually the generic version) for ALL of my kitchen surfaces. It gets rid of stains on my nasty formica counters! And as a bonus, it dissolves gooey/sticky messes on pretty much anything, including car windows and candle plates. True story.

whoaisme

help me become motivated to make my bed every day. i never see the point when i just get back in it at night :(

antarcticastartshere

@whoaisme Yeah, that is never happening in my house.

City_Dater

@whoaisme

Get a dog who likes to sleep on the bed. If the thought of sleeping on sheets covered in dog hair because the dog has been nesting in the unmade bed doesn't motivate you, nothing will.

jetztinberlin

@whoaisme Protip: Go Euro-style! This means: duvet with duvet cover on it, and a fitted sheet over your mattress. Period, the end, FIN. It reduces 'making the bed' from a scary 10-minute process to 15 seconds of 'shake out the duvet and fling it nicely over.' And actually I find I sleep better without the top sheet to get all snarled up in, too.

Jolie Kerr

@jetztinberlin ENDORSED. (I do this and was planning to make it the subject of an soon-ish column even!)

wharrgarbl

@whoaisme I've taken to making the bed without the top sheet and then sleeping on top of that with the top sheet during the summer. That way I can pretend I made the bed just by wadding the top sheet under a pillow or something if I really feel the need to pretend I'm the sort of person who makes beds (seriously, what am I, a wizard?).

elysian fields

@jetztinberlin aahhh no! Not Euro style! I need a real sheet because I sweat a lot while I sleep and I don't wanna get sweat all over my expensive duvet.

sox
sox

@elysian fields I swear though,once you start making your bed it becomes addicting. It's satisfying like a closing a ziploc bag. But yes, simplify the process! Pull everything nice and smooth and towards the top of the bed, toss the pillows down and don't fret, just admire the beauty of your accomplishment.

Lily Rowan

@elysian fields Seriously, it takes two seconds to spread out the duvet and sheet, and it looks pretty much made without actually tucking shit in and whatnot. (The first thing I do when getting into a made bed is untuck half of the edges, so.)

Motivation for doing this: Living in a small studio for years. Messy bed = terrible living.

Inconceivable!

@jetztinberlin I had no idea this was Euro-style, but I've been doing it for years! Hooray! It's to the point now where if I sleep in a bed with a real sheet, I end up scrunching it all up in one corner to avoid it.

However I am still terrible about making my bed unless someone else might see it later.

Pixley

@whoaisme The sheets stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. The. End.

Well, epilogue: plus you get fewer crumbs and cat hairs and whatever that poke you and stick to you in the night.

Ophelia

@City_Dater YES, this.

tiny dancer

@whoaisme I pretty much make the bed while I'm still in it by pulling up/evening the covers and smoothing it all out. Then I slide out and make slight modifications. I don't bother tucking because that's annoying and it looks made. Have a cover that's longer than a sheet (if used) for this to work.

Peanut

@tiny dancer I do this, too! With my patented double leg kick out to the bottom corners, a neat foldover of the top of the duvet and a careful slide out while holding everything in place with one hand. Then I throw my hands up in triumph and go on with my day, having accomplished at least one adult-type thing.

timesnewroman

@jetztinberlin Woah, a sheet on the mattress, pillows and a duvet is Euro-style? So what is American-style? (I'm British.)

amateur hour

@timesnewroman American style has a fitted sheet on the bottom and then a flat sheet on top of that, tucked into the bottom of the mattress. You sleep in between those sheets and then your blanket goes on top of that.

timesnewroman

@whyhellothere Ahh I can see the drama then! Thank you for answering (I ask a lot of these "What are the Americans talking about" questions)!

Matt Langer

Thank you so much for this, Jolie. I can't tell you how often I end up leaving dishes strewn all about in my den. The one in my New York City apartment. Sometimes even in the foyer, too! (But never in the state room. No food in the state room!)

(previously: used bicycle shorts)

Jolie Kerr

@Matt Langer I'm going to ignore the fact that you're sassing me, Matt Langer, but only because I love you so much. (And also because now I can yell at you until the end of time for sassing me, which? FUN!)

Instead I'm going to tell you something cute about me! When I was a little girl, I used to call the family room the "den room". My logic went something like this: There was the dining room, and the bedroom, and the bathroom so it stood to reason that there would be a den room.

Den room. Still sounds so normal and right to me!

Matt Langer

Jolie! You know I only sass because I <3

tay
tay

nooo sponges are so dirty!

Nutellaface

@tay You can disinfect them in the microwave!

Nicole Cliffe

I get so grossed out when I think about WHY I need to disinfect them in the microwave that I tend to just hurl them immediately into the trash and then wash my hands twice. Which is my pathology, and no argument against microwaving them.

Nutellaface

@Nicole Cliffe BUT IT'S TOO LATE AND YOU'VE ALREADY WASHED ALL OF YOUR DISHES WITH THEM!!!!!!

City_Dater

@Nutellaface
Or by boiling on the stove!
(for those of us who have no use for a death-ray shooting appliance that takes up way too much counter space)

Nutellaface

@City_Dater If my death ray cooker is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

frigwiggin

@tay Seriously, what happened to scrubby brushes? My recently-ex-roommates always did the dishes with a sponge and then they all just smelled like sponge. :(

Ophelia

@City_Dater I think you might be me. I'm a little freaked out.

Ophelia

@figwiggin Or just old washcloths that you can use to wash the dishes, and then throw in the washing machine with the load of towels (bleach).

frigwiggin

@Ophelia I'm partial to scrubby brushes for some reason, but washcloths probably work too! I am taking all sorts of advice from these articles and comment threads because my cleaning habits are woefully atrophied and I want to get back on track.

becky@twitter

@Ophelia dobie pads. those things can stand up to about three months worth of bleachings.

Ophelia

@becky@twitter I have not heard of these Dobie Pads of which you speak. I will investigate.

Hot mayonnaise

@Ophelia Yes for Dobie pads. I put them in the dishwasher to clean.

becky@twitter

@Ophelia BOOM: http://www.amazon.com/Scotch-Brite-Dobie-All-purpose-Pads-3-Count/dp/B001E6KF5Y

kaydeel

@figwiggin I buy a scrub brush at the dollar store and replace it (for a dollar) when it starts to splay. Yay for scrubby brushes! Sponges are disgusting.

City_Dater

@Ophelia

Or maybe you're ME! Aeeek! *Cue sci-fi horror body switching music*

Ophelia

@City_Dater As long as that doesn't mean one of us is Jamie Lee Curtis, and one of us is Lindsay Lohan.

becky@twitter

@Ophelia no no no. one of you is judge reinhold and the other is fred savage.

Nutellaface

Please tell me I'm not the only tatterdemalion here that doesn't change their sheets even close to once a week.

scrawler

@Nutellaface I've only gotten better about this now that the boyfriend basically lives at my place. I don't care if I have clean sheets, but apparently I want him to think I do.

Nutellaface

@scrawler I shower every night before I get in bed, so where does the dirt come from? It doesn't. They will be clean forever. Forever!!!

OhMyGoshYouGuys

@Nutellaface You're not alone! I'm bad about changing my sheets even though I consider myself a clean person. Sorry, fellas.

sarah ruth

@Nutellaface um, it's like...monthly for us.

elysian fields

@Nutellaface I go at least a month before "changing" them (i.e. washing them, because I only have one set of sheets). Sorry, there is no way I'm washing my sheets every single weekend. And don't tell me to get another pair of sheets; have you SEEN how expensive sheets are!?! holy moley!

frigwiggin

@Nutellaface Yeah, the dust mites love me and my filthy, filthy sheets and pillow. Excuse me while I bathe in hydrogen peroxide.

wharrgarbl

@elysian fields Thrift stores (Goodwill et al) tend to carry solid-color sheets pretty cheaply if you're looking for a normal size (ie, not king or extra-long twin). I mean, if you're interested. Having multiple sets of sheets isn't some kind of weird requirement now.

elysian fields

@wharrgarbl for real? I go to Goodwill a lot and I've never seen sheets there ...
also my boyfriend once bought sheets from a NYC street vendor for like $15 ... I would have gotten some for myself but they only came in disgusting patterns in colors and I won't sleep on anything but plain white sheets.

Ophelia

@elysian fields Also, Ikea. All my sheets are from Ikea, and you can buy them piecemeal, instead of in sets. If you're willing to go with white, each sheet will run you about $4, so you can get bottom, top, and 2 pillowcases for under $20.

sox
sox

@elysian fields I promise if you skip a pair of shoes and a cute shirt at TJ Maxx or Ross, and spend $40 on some 300+ thread count sheets, you will be soooo glad you did.

elysian fields

@Ophelia astounding!! did not know this!!! wish I didn't live a billion miles from the nearest IKEA.

wharrgarbl

@elysian fields Every Goodwill I've been in, but I haven't been in them all, so maybe your Goodwills just have a thing against sheets? Or sheets are really expensive where you live, and sneaky people hang out and snipe all the sheets when they come in to satisfy their sheet-lust at everyone else's expense?

elysian fields

@sox I've never seen a queen sheet set at my local Target for under $60 and I always have trouble bringing myself to spend over $50 on a single item (in this case, package) ... woe!

Ophelia

@elysian fields now that I'm double-checking, it looks more like $30 for a queen-sized set, but still not bad (I bought 'em a while ago).

AngerMonkey@twitter

@Nutellaface I sweat at night. It's gross, I know this. I change/wash my sheets AT LEAST once a week.

emilylou

@Nutellaface Yeah, sorry world, I'm a monther when it comes to the sheet change. I know it's theoretically gross, but I mean... I haven't gotten any weird infections/infestations and I haven't died yet so I'm feeling okay about the situation.

MousesHouse

@elysian fields New Orleans specific comment: I recently bought queen sized sheets at the target in metairie for like $40 and not on sale or anything. Also, even if there were sheets at the goodwill here, I would never buy them. I have really low standards for "gross" but that's seriously the only goodwill (the one on tulane??) i've ever seen a variety of identifiable body fluids on clothing.

Nutellaface

Ahhhh I feel so much better knowing we'll all be rolling around in our own filth tonight.

mishaps

@elysian fields Overstock.com for sheets and towels.

Yankee Peach

@jolie I just wanted to pop by and sing the praises of vinegar as a kitchen cleaner. I am such a convert! I used it to clean my miserable kitchen floor tiles and I am happy to say they are no longer miserable. They are shiny and bright. I also went wild and used it on the appliances with similarly excellent results.

kid madrigal

@Yankee Peach Same!!! I love it so much and use it on everything now! Safe for all surfaces and creatures! I added a few drops of tea tree oil to the mix and it smells great.
I just taught my boyfriend the wonders of white vinegar for cleaning and laundry last weekend, and all the dudes of the house were amazed to learn their kitchen cabinets had been white all along.

Nicole Cliffe

Tea Tree oil is like that healing cordial that Santa gave Lucy in 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.'

Yankee Peach

@Nicole Cliffe Have you ever tried tea tree oil shampoo? It's a religious experience, truly.

hallu

@kid madrigal Tea Tree oil is super toxic to cats! I don't know what "creatures" you have, but be careful. Cats can't process essential oils.

kid madrigal

@hallu Oh, good call! I only use 3-5 drops per gallon of water, though, so I believe it dries non-toxic. Well, and I only have dogs, but I think most animals are sensi to oils. A good thing to remember for sure.

sox
sox

@hallu What do you mean by 'process'? Like they can't smell them? If you're cleaning with them or diffusing them into the room, I don't really see how they'd ingest them. (But I need to know because obvs I don't want anything to happen to precious kitteh!)

frigwiggin

@hallu Can we just get an article that is Everything That Is Toxic To Cats? I am new to the cat-owning business and I have no idea what will and won't poison her.

Choire

@figwiggin Ugh, the list is like, EVERYTHING. You know what's most toxic to cats? VITAMIN D. #boom

hallu

@sox When we inhale essential oils (like, smell them) we are able to metabolize them. Cats cannot metabolize essential oils like we can, so they destroy their livers. For a detailed description see http://www.thelavendercat.com/3201/index.html

frigwiggin

@Choire Noooo, why did I get a cat. :(

sox
sox

@hallu Nooooooooooo. What??? I'm new to this cat lady business too and my vet keeps telling me to feed her canned food because the dry food is hard on her liver and SHE WILL NOT EAT THE CANNED FOOD. Not the cheap one, not the spendy one. She just looks at me and is like "This ish is VILE. Why do you feed it to me?"
Any suggestions, seasoned cat owners???

Nicole Cliffe

Mine hate wet food too. I think a good dry food is fine, IF your cats are down with drinking enough water.

melis

Wet food is bad because have you smelled that shit? JESUS.

frigwiggin

@sox What? But I just heard that wet food is bad and dry food is good, for some nebulous reason I can't remember. I am going to end up killing my cat because I don't understand her.

sox
sox

@Yankee Peach My vet seems to think if you can get some of both in, that's good. But think about it, our cats will be fine.
@hallu What I took from that article was that you shouldn't apply essential oils directly to your cat, but if it's say, in one of those oil diffusers with the little water bowl and candle beneath it to freshen the room, it would be ok as long as you're not oversaturating the air. But this was still so helpful because I am totally the type to try something like that if she had a cold!

Yankee Peach

@kid madrigal Oh my tea tree oil?!! I have to try this, too. It's amazing how much cleaner my kitchen is than when I was usuing all kinds of (crap) chemical stuff.

Kimberly Pine, Drummer

@sox Keep trying! Dry food is not great for cats, especially boy cats, because in nature they get most of their moisture from their food, and so don't naturally drink enough to keep them hydrated. A lack of hydration can cause crystals in their urine, which will back them up and shut down their kidneys and this happens SCARY FAST and you won't know because cats are NONCHALANT IN THE FACE OF ILLNESS. So yeah, wet food = happy kitty. Maybe some plain chicken?

Craftastrophies

@sox I feed my cat fresh mince. I buy it in bulk and freeze it. He will now not eat any kind of canned food, which is fine by me because it smells. His litter box is WAY less stinky with fresh meat. I tried bits of chopped up meat (chuck steak, etc) but he eats too fast and barfs, so mince it is.

I feed him Kangaroo (I'm aussie, obvs) which is super lean and also very cheap, so I don't know if prices compare with other meats, and fats, though. I pay $9 for two kilos of mince, and that lasts just over two weeks.

Also. If anyone makes a joke about shrimps and BBQs or crocodile dundee, or mentions the word 'skippy', I will cut you. And no bewailing of the fluffy kangas - kangaroos are mangy and gross. Also, consuming kangaroo meat is better for the environment because they don't have hooves so don't compact our delicate dry soil, and they are in plague proportions since they like the same conditions that sheep do, and we have a lot of sheep.

Dancercise

I am pleased to say that I am already doing just about everything on your list! Except for making the bed every day. I seriously just cannot bring myself to care. I'm open to hearing reasons WHY I should care, I just... don't.

scrawler

@Dancersize Me too! At least the once a day things. I'm not quite up to to all the dusting once a week she recommends.

Dancercise

@scrawler
Get a big box of Swiffers at Costco or WalMart or something. It makes dusting SO EASY. Just grab a swiffer (or two, if it's been a while since you dusted) and run it over every surface: bookshelves, nightstands/coffee tables, dressers, top of the refrigerator, etc. It takes 5 minutes, and if you're doing it regularly, it never gets super gross.

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@Dancersize Swiffers are great! But the scented ones are of the devil.

Megoon

@Dancersize I make my bed (ie fluff up the duvet cover) most days, because it is an incredible and very superficial way to make the room look neat when, in fact, it is not. Basically a messy room can look ok with a made bed, but if the bed's undone it doesn't matter how spic and span the room it - it'll look sloppy.

BethH

Everybody's getting a laminated copy of the cleaning schedule for Christmas! Or maybe Labor Day, that's closer....

Elizadoesverylittle

I am literally patting myself on the back for doing all the asterisked chores! My mother would be so proud...
(Actually, my mother would have a much longer list of asterisked tasks!)
Am also a vinegar convert, the only issue being that now, my bathroom smells a little bit like a chip shop. [That, non-British friends, is where we buy Fish & Chips, not Pringles.]

becky@twitter

@Elizadoesverylittle wrapped in newspapers, right? yum!

Elizadoesverylittle

@becky@twitter Yep, wrapped in newspaper and handed over by a Dick van Dyke style Cockney...
(Newspaper got banned years ago. They're wrapped in nice clean paper now...and I'm craving them thanks to this post!)

becky@twitter

@Elizadoesverylittle there's a ye olde english chip shoppe in my hometown in rhode island (US) that still serves them in paper printed to look like it's a newspaper. SO GOOD!

sophia_h

I am not a particularly clean person, but I say no to sponges! Everyone I know who uses sponges keeps them for wayyy too long and they are paradises for gross mildew. The one at my bosses' house smells so bad I can't even use it, I have to use paper towels. If you're not prone to doing things like buying a new sponge every month or two, get a pack of washrags at TJ Maxx. I recommend getting a set that has a couple of really ugly colors, and then reserve those for the bathroom. That way you'll be able to remember that the hideous neon green rag is only for the toilet.

BethH

@sophia_h you know what's worse than sponges? Those horrible sponge brush things with the soap in the handle! ICK! Also, only buy the fancy anti-microbrial ones, and microwave them/put them in the dishwasher. but really, Clorox makes dishtowels and dishrags!!

sophia_h

@BethH I am just not down with using one sponge for EVERYTHING. If I'm on an insane cleaning-rampage day, I'm going to use like four washrags for all the different jobs, and then WASH THEM. Unlike sponges!

And word on those soap-handle gadgets. They seem smart but end up gross in like a week.

BoomRoasted

I think I love Jolie more than I love the smell of Mrs. Meyer's Geranium hand soap (which is sooo good)! Reading her column makes me feel less like a crazy clean person and more like an awesome clean person.

gimlet

@BoomRoasted OH MY GOD MRS. MEYERS. I broke down this week and got the basil all-purpose spray and the lemon verbena dish soap and I never knew I could feel so excited about cleaning. Dear God, what have I become?

(PS Jolie my kitchen hard-clean is scheduled for tonight after work, are you proud of me? YOU SHOULD BE.)

astrangerinthealps

@BoomRoasted Mmm, Mrs. Meyer's. Now you're making me look forward to washing my kitchen floor just so I can smell that geranium scent.

BoomRoasted

@Fflora/@Riff Randell: I hard-cleaned my kitchen last week, mostly just so I could use all of my Mrs. Meyer's stuff. Ok, and so I could indulge my insatiable urge to scrub floors (something I've loved doing since I was a kid - that kid who scrubs the cement steps in front of her house on the first day of summer vacation, prompting her mother to say, "Stop it, the neighbors are going to think I forced you to do that.")

astrangerinthealps

@BoomRoasted You're weird. But I like cleaning bathrooms, so I am too.

frigwiggin

@BoomRoasted I have never used any of these products, but they sound amazing and I have a great love of nice scents, so maybe I need to pick some of that shiz up and start to want to clean!

MoonBat

@figwiggin ohmigod Mrs Meyers basil laundry detergent!!!! *tucks face diwn into neckline of shirt and inhales, purring contentedly*

frigwiggin

@MoonBat That, more than anything, has convinced me to buy some. If you're a shill, you're a very good shill!

frigwiggin

Definitely printing a copy of this out and taping it to my boyfriend's forehead for when we move into our new place next week (ish). Our current place is a lost cause, especially with the boxes and crap, but I want to start over right! Speaking of, Jolie, do you have advice on cleaning an apartment you're moving out of? Or is that in the archives somewhere?

Jolie Kerr

@figwiggin I have questions in the queue about both the move-in and move-out cleaning that it probably makes sense to tackle soon-ish, what with the popular September 1 moving date right around the corner. How about two weeks from now? (I want to mix it up a little and do some weirdo specific questions next week to keep things interesting.)

frigwiggin

@Jolie Kerr Sounds good! Even if I'm already moved out by then, the move-in cleaning advice will be muy helpful.

Ophelia

@figwiggin I'm not Jolie, so I'll stick with logistics instead of cleaning, but my biggest move-in cleaning advice starts before the move... if at all possible, schedule 1 day of overlap between when you move into your new place and out of your old place (or half a day, since that isn't always possible for apt-to-apt moves). Use the overlap to do the cleaning, because once you move all your crap in there, you are NOT going to get it done.

frigwiggin

@Ophelia The cleaning in the new place? That's not a bad idea. We're gonna have to, like, let the boxes hang out in the truck for a while in that case, because there's no WAY the old place is getting properly cleaned with all our crap in it now. And that carpet is sobbing for a vaccuum.

Ophelia

@figwiggin Yeah, in the new place, I mean. Being a not-as-clean-as-Jolie-person, I tend to clean the old place JUST enough to get the deposit back.

frigwiggin

@Ophelia Haha, fair enough. I'm trying to figure out where the line is, because, I mean, they're probably going to clean AFTER we leave anyway, so I shouldn't break my back, but also my last landlady was suuuuper picky about what was/wasn't clean enough on her walkthrough, which kinda pissed me off since, hello lady, you're going to pay people to do a better job than I did no matter HOW clean I get the damn house.

cherrispryte

@Jolie Kerr I kind of love doing move-out/move-in cleaning? I have no idea why, but I love it so much I've been known to do it for other people.
Also, are you ever going to talk about Fabuloso?

frigwiggin

@cherrispryte Want to come over? I'll give you all the Qream you can regurgitate!

Although, actually, I definitely prefer the cleaning part to the packing part.

kokeefeish

@cherrispryte Fabuloso with vinegar and water is the ultimate everyday kitchen cleaning spray.

Katie Walsh

I am moving into a new apartment next Wednesday (what?!) and will be stapling a print out of that schedule to my bedroom door. I'm about halfway good on that. Got the making the bed, doing dishes, wiping counters and scrubbing toilet down. Need to work on the clothes, dusting, and changing of linens.

BethH

@Katie Walsh put your hamper someplace really handy, and splurge and get a divided one!

Katie Walsh

@BethH Making the hamper more appealing is actually a great idea. My parent's house has a neato hidden hamper in the bathroom that pulls out like a big drawer and BOY do I love putting dirty items in there! My biggest problem is the non dirty items that pile up on chairs and surfaces in my room.

Dandizette

@Katie Walsh Place a second hamper where you dump your clothes because that seems to be the logic spot for you.

whereismyrobot

@Katie Walsh I put a set of hooks on the back of my closet door for stuff that isn't quite dirty (pajama bottoms, jeans etc.) and this has made all the difference on my house being clean. J#yp8CxJx1qS

BethH

@Katie Walsh I only got really good about putting everything away when I had a room that was just too small to not do it. After a while, it just becomes second nature. And I hide my pjs behind my pillow ;)

dracula's ghost

@Dancersize: I think I like making the bed every day because it's so nice to get into a made-up bed at night! Crisp straight sheets, everything all ready for your body to just slide into! Also it FEELS like the sheets are cleaner, when they are neatly made, although obviously this isn't true. And it just looks better to walk into the bedroom, like, to get changed for your night out dancing, and your pretty bed is all nicely made up in there instead of squalid like a rat's nest.

I do a lot of the things on this list but the one thing I want to do is CLEAN THE BATHROOM ONCE A WEEK, Why can't I do it?!???? It's so hard!

Also lets hear it for vinegar and baking soda, the only two things I use to clean my entire house, they are amazing and eco-friendly and cheap as hell! But one thing, dudes, DON'T MIX THEM, they are toxic when mixed together, this is important to note. Keep them in separate containers!

Jolie Kerr

@dracula's ghost Baking soda and vinegar together are not toxic. In fact, they're great mixed together because the volcano effect makes bubbles and bubbles are great at lifting crud up off of surfaces you want to de-crud.

I think you're thinking of vinegar and bleach, which when mixed together create toxic fumes.

AngerMonkey@twitter

@Jolie Kerr HAHA, yeah, baking soda + vinegar is toxic to.. maybe a bacterium? Probably a slug, as it produces salts, but that's about it.

ditriana

@jolie kerr

ACTUALLY YOU DO NOT WANT TO MAKE YOUR BED DAILY!

prepare to be so grossed out you will never make your bed again, except when company comes and that's purely for aesthetic reasons. making your bed traps moisture, encouraging the growth of bacteria, dust mites, allergens, and even bedbugs--and plenty of other EWW GROSS NASTY NASTY can't-believe-i'm-sleeping-in-THATs.

for further life-scarring info, look here:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4181629.stm
http://www.ecokaren.com/2010/01/dont-make-your-bed/
http://www.fitsugar.com/Got-Allergies-Dont-Make-Your-Bed-1664846
http://channels.isp.netscape.com/whatsnew/package.jsp?name=fte/unmadebed/unmadebed&floc=wn-nx

Nicole Cliffe

Why you ruin my life?

frigwiggin

@ditriana But...I don't get how unmade beds air out the sheets if they're still crumpled in a crazy little ball at the foot of the bed. Doesn't that trap moisture too? Is the only solution to hang my sheets on a crazy sheet-drying rack every day?

ditriana

@figwiggin I think it has more to do with the mattress getting aired out, as opposed to the sheets, since dust mites and bedbugs and the like mostly live in your mattress.

Ophelia

@ditriana Don't other people use mattress covers? Maybe it's just a holdover from my dust allergy-ridden childhood, but I always have a (washable) mattress cover on the bed, which I hope would mitigate the need for airing?

becky@twitter

@Ophelia i do!

madge

@Jolie Kerr ammonia + bleach is the rill bad one

@Ophelia YES! Because mattress covers also make the mattress comfy and they're easy to wash and oh god, do people really put their sheets directly on the mattress? Ew.

Hana Maru

@madge I am RILL. My ammonia's rill. My bleach is rill.

RocketSurgeon

One of my rules of tidying is "move it once". If you pick up something, decide what to do with it and put it wherever it belongs. It's efficient and you see progress quickly.

frigwiggin

@RocketSurgeon This is such good advice! I have terrible tidying-ADD, where I pick something up to toss it/put it in its place, get distracted by something else, and put it on the couch/on the storage unit/in the fridge and then it never gets dealt with.

frigwiggin

Does anybody have some super-amazing toilet brush they use? Every time I buy one toilet water accumulates in the caddy and then the toilet brush becomes something I never want to touch, ever.

cherrispryte

@figwiggin I really like the things that are a handle and have disposable brushy pads on the ends. The internet tells me these are Clorox Toilet Wands.

mayonegg

@figwiggin Get the Clorox Toilet Wand! It's amazing and perfect.

frigwiggin

@cherrispryte & @sarahb Yay, okay! Regular toilet brushes are so nasty and depressing, and the last one fell in the toilet when I tried to leave it on the rim to dry off.

BethH

@figwiggin Clorox toilet wands are one option, but they usually make me feel wasteful and that inheirited "oldest child in a single parent poor Irish-Catholic family during the depression" guilt I got from my grandmother kicks in... I just usually tap it/spin it above the water, but in the bowl? Much like an umbrella, just let most of the excess get off before you put it in the holder. Also, remember, the toilet wand, like the bowl, is now clean!

But also, you could try those stick on things, or the things you put in the tank and see how that goes?

frigwiggin

@BethH I have a hard time balancing this! I want to not be wasteful but I also get so easily grossed out by toilets and stuff while cleaning. Which doesn't make sense, since I did elder care and had to deal with giving enemas and stuff, but the curly hairs stuck to the toilet rim because boys are disgusting still scare me, so I end up throwing away every cleaning sponge after like two uses because it's just gnarly?

I guess you're right about the toilet brush, but it seems like even if I shake off excess water, there's still water accumulating at the bottom of the holder that stagnates and freaks me out.

one cow.

@figwiggin I knooooooow! I usually rinse it under the tap in the bathtub for awhile, and every once in awhile I'll spray it with bleach, too. Then I just let it sit in the empty tub until it's dry before returning it to its holder. It makes me feel way better about the whole thing. Last time I Scrubbing Bubbles'd my toilet (my move-in cleaning) I was literally gagging while wiping it off, because it was someone else's filth. So. Gross.

frigwiggin

@one cow. Oh, those are good ideas! Maybe I'll fish my engrossened toilet brush out of the trash and try and recover my faith in it.

Ugh, other people's filth. We had six people living in our house at one point, four of whom were male, and it was just...unbelievable. Our bathroom smelled like urine and despair.

kid madrigal

In lieu of technically "making" the bed, I just lie really flat and lift/shake the top sheet so it falls smoothly atop the bed, then sortof slither myself out the side and it's pretty much fine-looking.
Whatever keeps the dogs and dust off the sheets and maintains my wake-up-10-minutes-before-leaving routine.

DenimGlow

@Jolie - I really want to like Bon Ami (look at those cute lil chicks), but... how do you use it? Powder cleanser makes no sense to my all purpose spray and paper towel-using mind.

Ophelia

@DenimGlow Get the surface wet (so, if you're cleaning the inside of the sink, just splash a little water around it), then sprinkle the bon ami pretty liberally around on it. Take a washrag or sponge, and scrub around, then rinse (or wipe down, if it's a counter that you can't really splash).

@DenimGlow It's essentially used for making a paste that's super-duper strong and slightly abrasive, so it lifts up the grungy bits on the surface that a normal spray-and-wipe style of cleaning will just gloss over. Example: if there's soap scum in your tub and you just spray it and wipe with a paper towel, you're just cleaning the soap scum, not removing it. If you spray the whole bathtub with water, sprinkle some Bon Ami (or comet, or Mrs. Meyers surface scrub, or any other powdered cleanser) so that it sticks to the wet surface, and scrub it with a brush/dobbie scrubber/rough side of a sponge into a paste, THAT will remove the soap scum. If the surface is really icky, you can make the paste, scrub it in, and leave it for 10 minutes before rinsing. It rocks.

Ophelia

Also, as basic advice, take "Clean the house from top to bottom" literally. Start with high-up things like dusting, and end with floor cleaning, so you don't re-dirty something you've already cleaned.

becky@twitter

"And you’re a Hairpin reader, which means you’ll barf on things."

that was only my freshman year, i swear.

Chesla

I know this is going to sound... uppity (?) but hear me out: Get a cleaning person. WAIT! It's not as expensive as you think. You could have someone come once a week for an hour for $20. Most people spend $20 a week on coffee or cigarettes or whatever. For me, just knowing someone is coming the next day to see my mess kicks my butt into gear to do the things she wont (laundry, dishes, general picking up), then she comes, cleans the floors and bathrooms and that's it. It has been the best investment o my life.

cherrispryte

@Chesla This is like my "only clean when guests are coming over" cleaning strategy, except you've scheduled your guest weekly.

Chesla

@cherrispryte exactly! Having people over DOES make you clean. haha

Magpie Shinies

The best thing a parent can do for a future daughter in law is to TEACH YOUR SONS how to do housework! (I know there are exceptions to the "men are messy ones" rule, but go with me on this one.) My ex was not only lazy but aggressively sloppy with housework, it seemed like he went out of his way to make things a mess.

His parents never made him do chores, clean up after himself, anything. The only thing I was ever able to train him to do was put away the dirty underwear, and that's just because I threatened then went through with throwing away every dirty pair of undies or socks I found on the floor.

Has anyone ever dealt with this - someone who is not only not a clean person but is actually difficult to keep up with? My in-laws had me believing I was blowing things out of proportion (who complains about having to clean so much?!?), and I felt like I was being petty about blowing up over his not pitching in, but it honestly becomes a big deal after a while!

Dandizette

@Magpie Shinies I feel your pain. I had a similar bf who not only made an incredible mess but also managed to blame me for his grossness. Needless to say I'm single now :)

Megasus

@Magpie Shinies My boyfriend has a magical gift for using every single cup we own in the span of one night. ONE. FRIGGING. NIGHT. He is literally only here from like 9pm to work in the morning and he uses all of them!!! It drives me nuts. But yes, totally agree that ladies need to teach their sons to do some damn chores.

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@Megan Patterson@facebook I am this person? And my husband is you. I'm sorry about the cups, I'm trying to improve, honest.

DrFeelGood

@Magpie Shinies I regularly ask my spouse why his mom never taught him how to do anything. We argued a lot about this before marriage so he finally got the point that it was not an option to be disgusting. He is trying really hard though, I've trained him pretty good.

sophia_h

@Magpie Shinies Ag, my mother-in-law did EVERYTHING for her sons (she irons sheets!) and now my husband just has has no common sense when it comes to housework. He isn't aggressively messy, but if he's doing dishes it never occurs to him to clean anything else in the kitchen, and he isn't allowed to do laundry. To be fair, he's been very willing to learn and pretty much does all the cooking and dishes, which drives my MIL crazy. I can see her wince whenever he mentions it, which, hah. Sorry, I did not take over the pampering duties of your 32 year old son! But I feel she did him a huge disservice by not teaching him how to DO anything.

Dandizette

I had jewellery wildly roaming the bathroom and a darling vintage teacup and saucer I didn't use because I feared breaking it. Crummy bathroom looking classy now!

sox
sox

@hallu What do you mean by 'process'? Like they can't smell them? If you're cleaning with them or diffusing them into the room, I don't really see how they'd ingest them. (But I need to know because obvs I don't want anything to happen to precious kitteh!)

Sundae

For all the sponge fearers I say invest in a giant roll of what us Aussies would call Chux wipes/cloths. It looks like a fuck-off huge roll of paper towel except blue and made of wonder and cloth and you can buy them for suuuuper cheap at discount stores. Rip the suckers off that roll and use them from everything to the bathroom to dishes/wiping surfaces etc. If you're using them for gross things, just throw them out after one bathroom clean. If you're using them for dishes, use them a week or however long seems appropriate and throw them without guilt.

Also: GLOVES. GLOVVVVVES. Your beautiful hands Hairpinners, don't ever let me see you asking about manicures when you boil your hands in detergent/hot water/bleach etc. They also make gross things seem less gross simply through mind trickery and nice colours.

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@Sundae In Canada they're called 'shop towels' (or at least when I worked in a farm implement repair shop, they were.) Excellent things, although not very environmentally friendly.

MoonBat

@Sundae : shop towels, yes! They can be rinsed in hot water and hung to dry and my bleach habit makes them a lighter pinkish blue and brings me inexplicable joy!

DrFeelGood

@Sundae You can also pop a wet sponge in the microwave for 1 - 2 minutes and it kills all the germs by *literally* boiling them.

Megasus

Shit I don't do about half the things on the list. I'm not going to say which ones (SHEETS).

Hot mayonnaise

@Ophelia Yes for Dobie pads. I put them in the dishwasher to clean.

karion

Until this very moment, I had never heard of Bon Ami. It seems like a kindler,gentler Comet, yes?

I want the hornbook on hardwood floor maintenance. Specifically, the cleaning of said flooring. I sweep and Dyson it on the regular, but I know it needs the Murphy Oil or something else treatment once a month (I am guessing).

I am a little anxious to let go of my trusty Everyday Cleaner With Bleach, but after this bottle is up, I am going to forge ahead with the vinegar solution. Also, I need some additional details about the magic bubbles thing you mention about the bathtub - i use some Oxy bathroom thing, but magic bubbles sound pretty awesome.

Jolie Kerr

@karion Here's more on Scrubbing Bubbles. I totally get the cognitive dissonance on moving from bleach-based cleaners to plain old vinegar, but I promise it's just as effective as the chemical laden stuff you're used to using.

karion

@Jolie Kerr: the fact that you used the word 'commode' in that linked post is maybe the most illustrative reason why this is the greatest column in the history of columns.

I am heading out to get Scrubbing Bubbles tonight. Is there any chance they had a different trade name previously? I swear, I remember being captivated by the magic bubbles, but I thought they were marketed under a different name.

astrangerinthealps

Palmolive? I love everything else on this list, but... no on the Palmolive. The scents are not good, it's weirdly thick so it takes forever to rinse the dishes, but worst of all it tears. up. my hands. You can wear gloves, but the cost adds up and you always have to hang them up to try. I stick with Seventh Generation liquid and my hands (and nails) thank me.

amateur hour

@Fflora I love the Mrs. Meyers dishwashing liquids. Such nice scents.

Liina

@Fflora I wanted to say that too; I HATE palmolive. I don't have particularly sensitive skin but they feel like sandpaper if I use palmolive for one dishwashing session.

rootmarm

Hmm, I'm really good about the clothes in the hamper and terrible about everything else!

Alixana

Ohh, I have a story about sheet-changing! So in college I stayed with my boyfriend for about two weeks before leaving for a semester in Europe. As I am a good houseguest, I washed the sheets and remade the bed the morning that I departed. When I returned seven months later (still with the same boyfriend), we were preparing for bed at his apartment and I noticed that the sheets looked a little ... ... crunchy? So I asked, hey, when was the last time you washed these, hon? And he said, "you did, before you left!". SEVEN MONTHS.

I broke up with him not long after. Also because he said my mother was a bitch. But mostly because of the sheets.

maiasaura

I had a roommate in college who not only never (never! not once! possibly for all four years!) washed or changed her sheets, but also only showered about once a week. By the end of the time I lived with her, her light blue bed sheets were brown and gross on the top and blue on the sides. They also had tons of bloodstains? Yeah, that was a great living situation.

Xanthophyllippa

@maiasaura The only way to clean up after someone like that is to set everything on fire and move to a different state altogether.

etheline.

@maiasaura are you me? I had a roommate who seemed to love basking in her own filth. Her room looked like a crime scene, due to her apparent love of vigorous period sex (and strewing used pads and tampons ON THE FLOOR BY HER BED!!!!!). She also would apparently hoard fish in our oven. I feel like there could be a mega-post of dirty-people horror stories. This girl - her nastiness was the stuff of legend.

@etheline. Ladies, help. I am a clean person with an apartment that can best be described as quaint and reeking of vinegar/Mrs. Meyers Lemon Verbena/Method Tub Scrub/Murphy's Oil Soap/clean laundry. Sometimes it gets cluttery, but my space is clean. I am also a 20-something and if I have to have sex in one more gross, unswept, patchouli-scented hippie apartment, I am going to lose my shit.

Is it bad that I've stopped seeing someone because their apartment wasn't clean enough?

maiasaura

@etheline. Oh god, and the smell! You could tell if she'd been in a room any time in the last couple of hours by the lingering eau de unwashed. And yet for some reason, dudes loooooved her. She must have had some crazy pheromone action going on. I shudder at the memory.

etheline.

@maiasaura The boys flocked to this one as well! It has to be pheromones. Or maybe the completely cavalier approach to personal hygiene reads as free-spiritedness?

etheline.

@S. Elizabeth JUSTIFIED. Guys with messy apartments have in my experience lead messy lives.

@etheline. Yes. Also, it shouldn't smell like hippie.

Layla

Jolie and other Clean People of the Internet, any thoughts on Fabuloso? It works really well on my gross linoleum kitchen floor and other nonwood surfaces, and sometimes I see people putting it in their laundry! But sometimes it works so well that I think it's probably toxic and making my unborn children have three arms.

cherrispryte

@Layla I love Fabuloso. Its my go-to for deep-cleanings, like when you need to scrub your walls (I mentioned it way upthread, in relation to the move-in/move-out cleanings.) I don't think anything that purple and effective can possibly be good for you, though, so yeah, I'd keep it away from your ovaries.
It also smells FANTASTIC, so there's that.

DrFeelGood

@Layla This sounds like a product Ze Frank sells. I could get behind that sports racer.

Layla

@cherrispryte I know, it's so pretty and lavendary and cheap, too! The internet tells me people frequently mistake it for a sports drink, but beyond that it's not particularly bad for you.

kaydeel

Gloves to clean the toilet and gross stuff! Gloves help you clean more thoroughly without touching ickiness.

Gnatalby

Making the bed is for when you don't have a full enough life. I'm down with reforming my bad habits in the interest of health and filth reduction, but just to look OCD? No thanks.

Olivia2.0

My mother always suggested that you lay in bed and basically make it around you, then get out and tuck everything in. It works. Plus, you can stay in bed longer!

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

"Refuse to keep newspapers in the home for more than a week."

How am I supposed to suffocate one of my 400 cats if I can't build towers of old newspapers?

redheaded&crazy

Its funny people seem to be having way more trouble with the bed making than the clothes putting away. And I am that person too! I've managed to train myself into MANY good habits of keeping my room quite neat, putting my clothes away, not leaving my shoes everywhere for people to trip on, but UGH. Making my bed just does. not. stick.

I think it's because I like to spoon/cuddle my duvet rather than sleep under it, so if I don't make it it's already left in the perfect lumpy cuddle position. Also probably I try to sleep in until the last possible minute and making my bed just does not factor into that equation.

DrFeelGood

@redheadedandcrazy I am gonna agree to disagree with Jolie on this one. You air out your sheets and discourage bed bugs BED BUGS when you leave your bed unmade, because it lets your moisture/sweat (ew) dry out. I never make the bed unless I need to put stuff on it, and I am a pretty clean person.

drunkennoodle

@DrFeelGood This is the best thing I've ever heard! A reason to never make the bed. When I was a kid I had one of those dorky signs on my door that said one of the 'rules of my room' was that the bed is a relaxation device and therefore no energy should be spent on it. I still kinda believe that even though I'm pushing 30.

redheaded&crazy

@DrFeelGood I'm not sure I 100% buy the airing out sheets unmade thing because my sheets are all in a crumple right now pushed to the foot of my bed and have been all day... oh god I'm even doing unmade beds wrong :'(

Craftastrophies

@DrFeelGood I do the 'Euro style' thing, just a quilt (duvet) and a fitted sheet. I used to make my bed, then fold the quilt back so that it was doubled up at the foot of the bed, but the bit where most of my body is was exposed. Then when I get home in the evening I just flick it back up. I like walking into the room and seeing a neat bed, it makes me feel accomplished and adult, even if the rest of the house is trashed.

Now, though, I have a cat who likes to sleep on the bed, and I am mildly allergic - most of the time it's fine but if I'm already having a flare up of eczema, it will make me itch like woah. So usually I just make the bed in the morning, after I get dressed.

I am SO BAD at putting my clothes away, though. I try to hang the hanging clothes every couple of days, and I have a little basket that I dump stuff in. That way things I wear over and over, or every day for a couple of days - jeans, undershirts in winter, etc - are accessible but not everywhere on the floor, and the cat doesn't sleep on them.

Man, I am SO buying a furminator.

Hollydoll85

May I have a reprieve from the bedmaking? We have two queen beds that are tethered together and exceedingly hard to make.

Ophelia

@Hollydoll85 'splain, please.

ennaenirehtac

@Hollydoll85 Are you guys the grandparents from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

tea tray in the sky.

@Hollydoll85 Oh my god that must be SO SPACIOUS

Hollydoll85

There are three (me, boyfriend, his wife bitchzilla) of us and we are not tiny people. We used to have a California King, but the boyfriend was always "humid" and I like to have my room to spread out. We've been trying to think of a good name for it. "Bedatron" is taken.

DrFeelGood

@Hollydoll85 I did not think alternative lifestyles would come up in a thread about sheets haha.

@Hollydoll85 Why are you sharing a bed with a woman you call "bitchzilla?"

DrFeelGood

OK disgusting fact time. Did you know your bed DOUBLES IN WEIGHT in like 5 - 10 years, from all the DUSTMITES?! Change your sheets people, this is one way to keep this disgusting thing from happening *as much* (runs screaming).

tea tray in the sky.

@DrFeelGood And skin! Don't forget the skin!

redheaded&crazy

@DrFeelGood WHAT. Okay so say your parents are verging on hoarders and keep all sorts of old furniture for when their children move out including mattresses ummm... arghhh I don't even have a question nor do I even want an answer to my purely hypothetical speculations so forget this ever happened.

DrFeelGood

@redheadedandcrazy I mean this is one of those weird facts I've heard, never really sure it's true... off to snopes! .... Ok so it is not really true, but the thought is disgusting enough to make me change the sheets. http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2545/does-a-mattress-double-its-weight-due-to-dust-mites-and-their-debris

mockingbird

If you want to learn to put your clothes away/ in the hamper, get a house rabbit. Nothing motivates like knowing anything left on or near the floor could have holes chewed in it by morning. And if your rabbit is like my lovely Sarah Jane, you'll also start making the bed to keep your sheets safe from chewing. Swiffer dusters are the bomb, and that weird wand-like microfiber duster meant for blinds is great for getting the dust/fur layer off moldings or behind bookshelves. Rubbermaid makes a spray-mop that lets you use your own cleaner and has a washable microfiber pad. And I should buy stock in Method I love their products so much. They work, they smell good, and they're non-animal tested and affordable. Plus they make refills for their dish and hand soaps.

House rabbits are awesome, I should add, and worth everything you have to do to bunny-proof. More work than a cat, less than a dog, and it never stops being funny to have a rabbit hop through your living room.

makingtrouble

@mockingbird agree! our dog is prettygood at keeping me in line with this sort of thing also. he's pretty young and still chews so i have to clean shit up nightly.

drunkennoodle

I'm glad other people need someone to tell them how to do some basic cleaning...perhaps I just grew up a spoiled brat? My therapist says I should just devote 15 minutes each day or clean a corner at a time, but I just can't seem to do that because putting one thing away requires putting something else away and so on and so forth. The only way I clean well is at like 2:30 AM, and usually with the unbeatable combination of weed and caffeine. However, cleaning "under the influence" also means I stay up all night doing things like arranging my t shirts in ROY G. BIV order.

redheaded&crazy

@drunkennoodle WORD to weed and caffeine. Music is good for me too.

I am a ballin' kitchen cleaner, dish washer, vaccumin' anything that is high energy - things I hate are laundry (have to sit and wait around all day while it finishes) and cooking (same deal I guess).

drunkennoodle

@redheadedandcrazy Oh, I was totally gonna mention that the other thing that slows me down is making the perfect 'cleaning playlist'. Weed, caffeine, and a sweet playlist makes cleaning feel like playtime.

@drunkennoodle I'm frequently a red wine and Frank Sinatra cleaning person.

Mrs. Brown's Lovely Daughter

Watching Hoarders: Buried Alive at midnight seems to be my greatest motivation. "Oh GOD I have too much stuff! GET IT OUT! GET IT OUT!"

makingtrouble

i know this is late but holy hell i can't be the ONLY one with this issue.

reason why the bed making is impossible in our house? me and the boy use a bottom sheet and two blankets. no topsheet. BUT (key point, this) he's a sweaty beast man and i'm always freezing in our overly air conditioned (at his insistence) house. so he sleeps with one thin blanket and i sleep with one thick one. thus making the bed look even stupider and messy when it's made because the blankets don't layer, they go side by side.

any thoughts?

etheline.

I love this column so hard. I get a probably-unhealthy thrill from finding new ways to clean things, which means my fiance is always asking me silly questions about things like why there are dryer sheets in our slow cooker (to help baked-on messes slide off!) or why we go through so much baking soda (BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING IT CANNOT DO!)

Brunhilde

Okay, as a girl with long hair and three sisters, and this might seem weird and/or gross, but comb your conditioner through your hair in the shower and don't let that shit go down the drain. This was always my dad's rule, and once I got my college roommates on board our drains stopped clogging up every month. Also, invest in a sewer snake.

Brunhilde

@Brunhilde: Oh! and brush your hair *before* you shower. Mitigates how big of a hairball you have to throw away when you get out.

Mrs. Brown's Lovely Daughter

At college orientation there was a point when they gathered all the parents up while the new students were doing something else, and the facilitators taught the parents what to say to the kids when they came home complaining. One was "I need money!" response: "Get a job" etc. But the favorite was: "Mom, I'm sick!" response: "Change your sheets!" I may not change them as often as I should, but any time I wake up with a stuffy nose I can't help but worry that it's because of allergens in my pillows.

I have to say though, I find picking up/putting away my clothes to be WAY more important to keeping my room looking clean than making my bed. I feel like that's the one that needs the exclamation point out of the two dailies in the bedroom.

fondue with cheddar

YOU'RE SOAKING IN IT! I remember Madge!

I can't use Palmolive, though. It makes my hands itchy, or at least it did when I was young. I haven't used it in decades.

emcemc

Jolie, I'm a little late to the game, but I wanted you to know I just posted this on my fridge with a note that says "Emily, you can do this!" I am the messiest, most housework-ignorant person on the planet, but I WILL BE CLEAN ONE DAY DAMMIT. thanks for your guidance!

Karla Manzur@facebook

this is definitely not environmentally friendly, but may be the answer to sponges and phobias of dealing with things that are now dirty because they have cleaned once dirty things. WIPES. i am a WIPE freak. all kinds of wipes. wet swiffers for floors, the flushable kind for cleaning the toilet, clorox wipes for counters etc. wipe, dispose and forget. i keep a canister by the toilet so that my man can immediately clean up his own damn sprinkles. and don't even get me started on the wonders of the other toilet paper kind for your nether regions...also especially good to introduce to the guys. i think my love of wipes stems back to the wet-naps you used to get with airplane meals- alas many of you may be too young for such nostalgia.

Casanova Frankenstein

I JUST CLEANED MY WHOLE BATHROOM! I got the weird crusty thing that looks like boogers off the wall! I'm in college and I live with two boys so this doesn't happen very often. But I did it! I'm so proud of myself!

whereismyrobot

I am such a dork, I just made a google list detailing all of these items and a few more that I added specifically for my pets.

Yay organization!!

Barry Grant

Waaaaaait just a darn minute. Didn't any of you follow that link about making punch? Here I thought Jolie Kerr was a proper mademoiselle, what with her sunbonnet avatar and all. But apparently she's just as casually debauched as, well, everyone else here. Who knew?

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